Active vs. Spiritual
There are activist churches and spiritual churches, activist Christians and spiritual Christians, activist sometimes to the exclusion of the spiritual or spiritual to the exclusion of any action. I think we misunderstand faith when we specialize in one or the other. Faith is belief in action. Faith is a dynamic state which seeks to include, to embrace, to listen to, to pardon, to love the other, to help, to worship, to see the Divine One in all other people and in creation. Faith without action is empty. Belief that doesn’t impel action is hollow. To many Christians it is enough to believe in God and Jesus Christ and to go to church every week, and then to live the rest of their lives as they wish. This is not Christianity. This is not what Jesus taught and modeled. In Jesus we see integrity, a congruence where the inner and the outer are the same. Furthermore, he is always resting in God and he is always acting on his Father’s behalf.
There’s even more to faith than being belief in action; faith is an alignment of ourselves with the Lord and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in our actions and words. And beyond that it is a resting in the Lord where all action and being is given, all words come to you, through you from the Spirit. So we rest in the Holy Presence, we take action and speak in concert with the Divine One. That is the essence of being a Christian. If we’re all action and don’t listen for God’s inspiration for us, or if we love being in God’s presence and can’t bring ourselves to be inspired to act, or if we’re all about following the rules, seeking perfection before God, we have totally missed the boat. We are not really aligning our lives with what God wants for us and with what God created us to do while we’re here on earth.
“Consider the lilies of the field, they toil not, neither do they spin; and yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” [Matthew 6:28-9 KJV] Consider how in their natural state these flowers are totally taken care of, all their needs met, and they just do what they were meant to do: to be beautiful, to be a source of pollen and then to fertilize the ground. Consider ourselves, all our needs are met in the creation we live in, all we have to do is rest in God and to be who we were created to be. God has a plan for us and when we follow that plan, we are making the contribution that God planned for us to make.
What is the contribution that God wants you to make to life? What do your talents and interests and even weaknesses add up to? What is God calling you to do and to be? Are you living out that call or are you ignoring it? When we think about how our happiness, peace, love, forgiveness and all the fruit of the Spirit come from resting in God, being who we were created to be, and doing what we were created to do, it sounds so easy. It is simple, perhaps, not so easy. Listen to God, do what God asks. What could be simpler? That could be a mantra for our lives: listen to God, do what God asks.
We see that modeled by Jesus over and over again: in his baptism, in the wilderness, at the Sermon on the Mount, with the Pharisees, with the poor and outcast, at Gethsemane, on the road to Calgary, on the cross. There were a few times when he needed a break from the crowds or at the end of his life, when he asked to be relieved of “this cup” or missed God’s presence, but then it was always, “your will, not mine.” He lived that truth. And so can we.
Questions to ponder: What is the mantra for your life? What purpose do you reinforce in yourself every day? Where are you headed?